In the beginning was the Word.
TANYA DEANE IVES
While we often talk about the Bible as being the Word, Jesus himself is actually referred to as the ‘Word’. When John used this title in reference to Jesus in John 1, he was making a clear statement to his readers about who Jesus is. The ‘Word’ (Greek: Logos) had been used widely in Greek and Hebrew literature, as a description of the divine reason or wisdom through which the world grew and gained life. It described the Mediator between God and humankind. Both Greek and Hebrew agreed that the Logos was considered the starting point of everything.
In using this term to describe Jesus, John invited both Jew and Greek, the two cultural backgrounds of his readers at the time, to recognise that Jesus is eternal (v1), eternally with God (v2) and the incarnate Redeemer who came from the Father full of grace and truth (v14). It is a series of bold statements, summarised in the description of Jesus as the Word, that identified Him not just as a man, but as the mediator between mankind and the Father, indeed God himself revealed. It is from this place that the rest of the Gospel of John flows, almost as an invitation to the reader to seek to know Jesus, the Word, for themselves.
John 1 introduces many aspects of who Jesus truly is, inviting us to consider and reflect on each one. As the revealed Word He is also the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (v29, 36), our Rabbi, or teacher (v38), and finally, He is declared as the long awaited Messiah (v41), Son of God, King of Israel (v49). It makes for quite a list of credentials! As people began to discover who Jesus was, they were invited to begin a journey, walk after him on the road and follow him. What’s fascinating is how John used the very words of Jesus, as well as the words of his followers, to frame an invitation for us to better know Jesus for ourselves and to walk this same journey. Jesus said to these men, ‘Come … and you will see’, and ‘follow me’. As people took that step, Jesus led them into his home and spent time with them. I love that God’s heart is for us to be in friendship with him, being in his presence, learning from him. These very invitations, from the Word himself, to come, see and follow, is extended to all of us, each and every day. They are not just the starting point of our living relationship with Jesus, instead we continually revisit these invitations, each time seeking to draw closer, see more clearly and follow Him more obediently.
What might you do this week to take a step forward in following Jesus? If you’re used to approaching your relationship with Jesus in a particular way, it might be helpful for you to try something you’re less familiar with. Perhaps it involves memorising a passage of scripture, praying with someone or acting on an inner prompting His Spirit has whispered to your heart. It could be any number of things. I encourage you to pray about that with Him, and take another step forward in your relationship this week.
Have you noticed in this passage how, after hanging out with Jesus, Andrew, went straight to his brother, Simon, to tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah” and brought him straight to Jesus? Philip also did this with Nathaniel. There appears to be a natural progression of people meeting Jesus, and then immediately going and telling someone about it. Our relationship with the Word is never meant to be kept to ourselves. This personal relationship Jesus invites us into is intended to be public.
I recently met a girl in her early twenties who started following Jesus 12 months ago. She is someone, like Andrew and Philip, who can’t help but tell people about Jesus. Each Sunday she brings with her to church a string of people, many who keep returning, each time seeing a new aspect of Jesus who invites them to come, see and follow. I know that I’ve felt most alive in my relationship with Jesus when I’ve been active in sharing Him with others! It’s incredibly exciting to invite people to find out for themselves, who Jesus is. The beautiful part of this process is that Jesus, the Word, loves to reveal Himself through our conversations to those around us, and invites each person to take a little step forward to know Him better. ◼︎